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LV                THE MONGOL CATACLYSM            153
Meanwhile Mohamed had reached Kazvin and in-
tended to make a stand there. While he was organizing
an army, news reached him of the capture of Rei, distant
less than one hundred miles. His army, infected with
the spirit of its monarch, scattered, and Mohamed, after
nearly falling into the hands of the Mongols, escaped
into Mazanderan, and finally took refuge in a small island
off the coast. The craven monarch, though safe at last,
was dying, and he passed away leaving behind him a
reputation for pusillanimity which has rarely been
paralleled in history.
The Siege of Urganj > A.H. 617 (1220).—After the death
of Mohamed three of his sons travelled by sea to the
Mangishlak peninsula, and on reaching the capital of
Khwarazm were warmly welcomed by all classes. An
army was collected, but a conspiracy being formed against
Jalal-u-Din he was forced to flee with three hundred men.
Crossing the desert in sixteen days, he reached Nisa, a few
miles to the south-west of modern Askabad, only to find
it held by a body of seven hundred Mongols. With the
courage of despair the heroic Prince charged and defeated
this force and reached Nishapur in safety. Two of his
brothers, hearing that a large force was concentrating on
Urganj, followed in his track three days later and were
killed by the Mongols.
The next operation of Chengiz was to despatch a
force under Juji, Chagatay, and Ogotay to besiege the
capital of Khwarazm. The Mongols on reaching the
city gates were attacked and pursued by the garrison,
which was drawn into a carefully prepared ambush, and
suffered heavily. Upon the arrival of the main army
before Urganj, the wretched Tajiks1 from other con-
quered cities were forced to fill up the ditches and the
artillery was then placed in position. The Mongols, how-
ever, failed in an attempt to capture the bridge uniting
the two parts of the town, and owing to quarrels between
Juji and Chagatay the conduct of operations was paralysed.
1 Tajik is the term used to denote the sedentary population, as opposed to Turk,
which employed in this connexion includes all tent-dwellers. It is the same word as
Tazi, which signifies Arab and still survives in the word used to denote the so-called
Persian greyhound, which was apparently introduced by the Arab Conquerors.